Netball Family, following on from yesterday’s update and after further campaigning by England Netball behind the scenes, we are pleased to say that a number of other sports have joined us in lobbying Government for the rationale behind the new restrictions related to indoor team sports.
As the most played female sport in the country, we have been disproportionality impacted by the changes announced on Tuesday 22 September. We are in dialogue with Government and remain hopeful we may be able to discuss some changes to the indoor restrictions put in place.
However, whilst these conversations continue, all netball activity must adhere to the Government changes outlined here. Sport England are also continuing to release further FAQs in relation to the guidance here.
Whilst we develop more detailed guidance specific to netball, we wanted to provide an update ahead of any planned activity over the coming days. Whether you’re set to train with your club, compete in a league, umpire or coach netball soon, please take the time to read the below information.
- Training sessions for juniors (U18s) can continue both indoors and outdoors in line with stage 4a of our Return to Play Roadmap. Current Government guidance stipulates that as soon as a player reaches the age of 18, they will be classified as an adult and must adhere to the ‘rule of six’ when playing team sports indoors. We are lobbying to get this changed to school year rather than DOB.
- Any training that involves both under 18s and over 18s is classed as adult activity and must adhere to the new ‘rule of six.’
- Senior training (O18s) can take place outdoors, again in line with stage 4a of our Return to Play Roadmap.
- Senior training (O18s) can still take place indoors in line with stage 4a of our Return to Play Roadmap but now must also adhere to the ‘rule of six.’ It has not yet been confirmed whether multiple groups of six can convene on one court, we are seeking urgent clarification on this.
- Netball training sessions for members with disabilities can continue both indoors and outdoors in line with stage 4a of our Return to Play Roadmap. Disabled participants are exempt from the ‘rule of six.’
- Any junior league or competition activity (U18s) can continue from Saturday 26 September indoors or outdoors in line with stage 4b of our Return to Play Roadmap. Current Government guidance stipulates that when a player turns 18, they cannot continue to take part even if partway through a playing season. We are lobbying to get this changed to school year rather than DOB.
- Any league or competition that involves a mix of both adults and juniors (U18s & O18s) can only take place outdoors.
- Any league or competition for adults (O18s) can continue from Saturday 26 September outdoors in line with stage 4b of our Return to Play Roadmap.
- Tournaments are not permitted indoors or outdoors for adults or juniors.
We recognise this will cause disruption to many leagues and competitions, including Regional leagues and England Netball’s Premier League. We will be in touch with Regional Competition Organisers and teams affected as soon as possible.
Pathway activity for those up to the age of 18 is not impacted by the Government restrictions. We will be in touch with Vitality Netball Superleague clubs and regions impacted regarding plans for U19 and U21 sections once the outcome of Government discussions has been determined.
Planning is underway for the commencement of England Netball programmes. The following programmes will be able to take place outdoors or in groups of 6 indoors;
- Back to Netball
- Walking Netball
- Netball Now
All programmes should be run in line with stage 4a of our Return to Play Roadmap, with the exception of Walking Netball which currently remains at Stage 3. Careful consideration should be given before moving any activity that was planned to take place indoors to an outdoor netball court. A partnership agreement is required to deliver any of the programmes above.
Support with outdoor venues
If you are struggling to find outdoor venues, please visit our help centre and we will do everything in our power to help you find an alternative venue.
Netball Family, we thank you once again for your ongoing resilience. We are determined not to let the sport we love flounder during these uncertain times. Through taking up membership, you are demonstrating that “netball matters”. You are saying “women’s sport matters”. This has gone such a long way in helping us initiate conversations with Government. We won’t stop lobbying for the sport and for our members, who are at the very heart of the game. Your safety is our utmost priority and we will do all we can to keep you safe and ensure you can continue to keep active through the sport we love. Thank you for your unwavering commitment to netball.